Who Are The Undecided Voters?

Andrew Sullivan —  Sep 28 2012 @ 2:58pm

Ezra Klein describes the group:

To people personally invested in politics, the homestretch of the campaign appears loaded with the kind of political information that could change voter opinions. There are debates, a flood of ads, inevitable gaffes, the crush of election news — maybe even an October surprise or two.

But undecided voters are precisely those least likely to tune in to the debates, which helps explain why debates typically have little effect on elections. They’re the least likely to care about a gaffe — or even to know when one has occurred. They’re more likely to throw out political mail and tune out political ads. If they live in a swing state, they’ve already been buffeted by — and proved immune to — months of commercials and phone messages.

Josh Green has more:

In a Sept. 17 focus group of undecided voters in Fairfax County, Va., conducted by the Democratic pollster Peter Hart for the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center, feelings were almost uniformly negative. Hart went around the room asking participants to describe how they feel about the presidential campaign in a word or phrase. Their answers included: “removed … ambivalent … negative … very negative … cheap slugfest … confused … contentious.” Then he asked them to describe Mitt Romney: “stiff … evasive … uppity … unfriendly.” Obama fared no better: “overly confident … unrealistic … arrogant … hollow.” A.J. Morning, a 41-year-old computer technician from Springfield, Va., summed up the group’s mood when he told Hart that the country is “mired in a bowl of stupid.”